Is it Self-Doubt or Depression? Reasons it Might Be a Mental Illness

It’s important to understand the difference between self-doubt and depression. Recognizing what you’re going through enables you to find healthy solutions and work through toxic behaviors. 

We all experience feelings of sadness from time to time. We may get down in the dumps or have days when we look in the mirror and say, “I’m not too fond of you today”…It happens! Self-doubt is a normal emotion to feel and you should never feel ashamed of not feeling your best sometimes.

However, depression is something that should be taken much more seriously. Depression is classified as a mood disorder. It may be described as feelings of sadness, loss, or anger that an individual feels regularly. Feeling deep sadness or dead for an extended amount of time may mean that you have depression.

You’re Not Going to Experience Self-Doubt or Depression Forever

Before we get into the differentiation between self-doubt and depression, I’d like to drive home a point. The pain you’re feeling now has the potential to not only make you a better person but to ultimately catapult you into a much happier life. It’s not always easy to understand how that’s going to happen in the moment. Sometimes it feels pretty impossible that you’ll ever feel better or truly happy.

As someone that’s experienced depression, I’m here to tell you it doesn’t have to last forever. Emotions are like waves – they flow in and out. You are not your emotions. You may feel them, but that doesn’t mean you have to let them define you.

One of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned from experiencing depression is that it was a hidden blessing in my life. Depression allowed me to develop a deep sense of empathy towards others. Depression has shown me how strong I truly am by overcoming feelings of hopelessness and self-doubt. Depression has allowed me to work through my problems and redefine happiness.

With the right lifestyle changes and treatment, you become acutely aware of yourself. You also become more aware of your surroundings and life. Experiencing depression sets you up to come to realizations and break-throughs other people may never understand. 

For example, I learned that awareness in the present moment is a powerful tool. Taking the time to focus on your five senses and appreciate the environment around you. The past is long gone and the future is can be defined by each present moment building upon the next. 

So appreciate the present. Look around you and just take a moment to breathe. After doing this enough times, you get a certain feeling of comfort. 

You are not your depression. You are not your feelings of self-doubt. At 1st Step Behavioral Health, we would be honored to help show you your potential. 

Symptoms of Depression

As we navigate through these feelings of sadness, let’s start with the symptoms of depression. You may find yourself asking the question: “Is it normal self-doubt and sadness or is it depression?” 

Everyone is unique in what they experience, but these are generally the most common signs of depression:

  • Feelings of helplessness and consistent dread –  A negative perspective on life – nothing will change and there’s nothing you can do to feel better.
  • Loss of interest in daily activities –  You don’t care anymore about former hobbies, pastimes, social activities, or sex. It may seem like you’ve lost your ability to feel joy and pleasure.
  • Anger or irritability – You may find yourself feeling agitated or restless. Aggressive behavior may also begin to occur. The people around you, as well as your surroundings, easily get on your nerves. 
  • Loss of energy –  Feeling fatigued, sluggish, and physically drained. Your whole body may feel heavy, and even small tasks are exhausting or take longer to complete. 
  • Self-loathing – Intense feelings of low self-esteem or shame. You’re a harsh critic towards yourself – you may spend a lot of time overanalyzing your perceived mistakes and decisions. 
  • Reckless actions –  You partake in escapist behavior such as substance abuse, compulsive gambling, reckless driving, or dangerous sports.
  • Problems focusing –  Making decisions, concentrating or remembering things has become an issue.

So, What’s Self-Doubt and Sadness Then?

Although self-doubt and sadness go hand in hand with depression, they’re very normal emotions to experience on their own. Everyone feels self-doubt from time to time. It can even be healthy to critique yourself honestly, from a place of love. 

However, it’s the consistent dread and sadness that somebody depressed feels that makes the difference. If you find yourself feeling deeply unhappy and “out of it” regularly, then it may be time to seek help


Self-doubt can be described by not feeling good enough. You may find yourself doubting your capabilities and overanalyzing your every decision. An unhealthy self-doubt is the inability to see the good things about yourself. 

It’s hard to maintain motivation when you can’t appreciate the good in yourself. We may believe that we’ll never achieve our goals, that we don’t have talent, or are not worthy of our position or partner. Small failures give us a reason to partake in an unhealthy amount of self-loathing. Self-doubt paints a false picture in front of your eyes. 

Self-doubt is nothing but a monster your mind creates. You may feel self-doubt now and then that you’re able to overcome quite quickly. However, if your self-doubt follows you around every single day, then we urge you to give us a call today.

One of our caring specialists will help you determine if you’re experiencing normal feelings of self-doubt, or depression. You’re not alone in this struggle. 


Sadness is a normal human emotion that every single person will experience at stressful or challenging times. There are multiple reasons one may experience sadness. It can be because of the loss or absence of a loved one, divorce, loss of a job, financial issues, or problems at home. All these situations can leave you feeling glum. 

However, a person experiencing sadness generally finds relief from crying, venting, or talking out frustrations. Sadness tends to be triggered by an event, rather than something that shows up for no reason.

Sadness typically passes with time. If it does not pass, or if the person becomes unable to resume normal function, this could be a sign of depression. If sadness worsens or lasts longer than 2 weeks, outside help may be necessary. 

Are Feelings of Self-Doubt Getting in the Way? 3 Simple Ways You Can Alleviate These Feelings Today

Do you remember when I mentioned how feelings are like waves? Self-doubt is nothing but a temporary emotion that colors your reality in the moment. There is almost never a legitimate reason to be feeling self-doubt. 

We convince ourselves of truths that we allow to define our reality. However, these truths can be damaging at times if they’re negative. Self-doubt is a feeling you can work through. Keep reading to find out how you can start to feel more confident today.

  1. Invest in a journal.

Investing in a journal has many benefits and can quickly become your favorite habit. When it comes to self-doubt, it can help you to:

  • Keep a realistic record of your life. Keep track of positive things that arise in your day-to-day life. You can also write down your achievements to look back on when you’re experiencing self-doubt. 
  • Gain clarity. Writing down your negative thoughts or problems on paper can make a major difference. Once you see it written down, you’ll oftentimes realize the situation isn’t that scary. Making lists of pros and cons allows you to see your challenge in a clearer and more level-headed way. Also, it’s easier to come to solutions this way.

    2.  Get a positivity boost.

We live in an age where it’s so easy to access a wealth of resources on any topic. When it comes to self-doubt, there’s plenty of books, podcasts, and videos out there made to help you. Let someone else’s enthusiasm, motivation, and constructive optimism flow over to you.

Spend 20 minutes with an audiobook, a podcast or a book that helps lift feelings of self-doubt. 

Everyone has their preferences and you may have to do a little searching, but here are some of my personal favorites:

  • Super Brain: A book written by Deepak Chopra and Rudolph E. Tanzi.
  • Oprah’s Soulful Sunday Podcast – This is a little more on the spiritual side.
  • Joe Rogan’s advice in this motivational video (I listen to this every morning)

     3.  Sharpen your skills.

If you’re experiencing self-doubt before an important presentation or an event you’re attending, take the time to prepare! For example, read a book about public speaking that’ll give you more confidence. Feeling socially-anxious? Research ways to calm yourself down in the moment and work on implementing them.

Do You Have a Feeling Your Self-Doubt is Depression? – What Treatment at 1st Step Looks Like

If you’ve realized that your self-doubt has stemmed from depression, then we can help you today. Our treatment is tailored to each patient. We have a variety of programs ranging from inpatient rehabilitation to outpatient treatment. The type of care will be dependent upon the severity of your depression.

No matter which kind of rehab program you attend, the core of treatment will remain the same. We offer a wealth of resources such as one-on-one counseling, group therapy, holistic care, and much more. Each program will work with your schedule. Treatment may consist of a structured all-day program or it may mean evening visits to a therapist.

Regardless of how lost you may feel, we assure you that it does get better. At the end of the tunnel is a bright light. We want to navigate you towards that light and show you what life should feel like.

Call Us Today

If you have a feeling your self-doubt is depression, don’t hesitate to give us a call today. With the right treatment program and support, recovery is possible. Depression doesn’t have to last forever. You can feel joy and happiness again. You just need the right tools at your disposal. 

We would be honored to help show you the potential that’s always been there. Call us at (866) 319-6126 or contact us here for more information about available programs.


Molly and Alcohol: Learn More About This Lethal Polysubstance Abuse

Substance addiction forms when a person becomes both mentally and physically dependent on a type of drug or alcohol. The body gets accustomed to functioning under the effects of the substance, causing severe withdrawals when that substance is taken away or no longer being used regularly.

While addiction is often thought of as being the dependence of one substance, there are many cases where the individual is addicted to more than one substance at once. This is known as polysubstance abuse/addiction, and those suffering from this dangerous condition are typically addicted to being high in general rather than to one specific drug. 

Let’s explore the common polysubstance abuse molly and alcohol.

Understanding Polysubstance Abuse 

Addiction of any kind is a danger to both the body and the mind. With a long enough duration of substance abuse, addiction can become life-threatening. The combination of two or more drugs at once or alternating between different types of substances is classified as polysubstance abuse disorder. This type of addiction is not only dangerous but harder and more complex to treat. Polysubstance poses an even greater risk, as the combination of drugs and their side effects are often too much for the body to handle. 

There are many different risk factors that play in polysubstance abuse. In many cases, the individual will have built up a tolerance to one substance, and require the combination of others in order to feel a real “high”. In other cases, the combination of drugs creates a completely different kind of high or a stronger one. Another common scenario is using one substance to offset the negative side effects of another substance, while still getting the desired high. 

Who is at Risk for Polysubstance Abuse?

Those with a history of addiction are at risk for polysubstance abuse, especially if they experiment with new drugs often. There are however some factors that make certain people even more likely to develop this condition. Some of them include:

  • Individuals taking pain medication 
  • Individuals taking  Anxiety or Depression Medication
  • Individuals who experiment with drugs often
  • Individuals with Mental Health Disorders  

These factors lead to an increase in the chances of not only trying a combination of drugs but also thereafter becoming addicted. Many pain or anxiety medications cause a high when taken with other substances, even alcohol. In many cases the intention was not to get high, but once the feeling is experienced it becomes addictive. 

Why are Molly and Alcohol A Dangerous Combination? 

Molly, otherwise known as MDMA or Ecstasy is a stimulant drug often used for increasing mood and energy. Alcohol, on the other hand, is a depressant. This means the body and nervous system will slow down while under the influence of alcohol. The combination creates a massive confusion and dangerous state of being on the mind and the body. 

Additionally, those suffering from a dual diagnosis of both drug addiction and mental health disorders already likely already have impaired cognitive and emotional function. Adding this dangerous combination of drug use adds fuel to a fire that’s difficult to put out. 

How Does Molly Affect the Body?

Molly is a drug often found being used at nightclubs or parties due to the energy increases and euphoric effects it produces. In more recent years it has made its way into the mainstream world and everyone from teens to working adults have access to this drug. 

Taking molly creates a release of the “happy” brain chemicals and these chemicals determine everything from your mood, your thoughts, and your behaviors. Taking molly speeds up both your nervous system and your brain activity. Other Side effects of Molly include:

  • Hyperactivity
  • Feeling of Euphoria
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Anxiety
  • Feeling cold
  • Impaired balance/gait
  • Heavy legs
  • Jaw clenching/tight jaw
  • Lack of appetite
  • Perspiration
  • Extreme Thirst
  • Restless legs
  • Jitters

When taken regularly, your body becomes dependent on the ingestion of this drug to release happy chemicals. In other words, if you stop taking molly after abusing the substance, your body forgets to release happy chemicals which results in anxiety, depression, and nervous system disorders. 

How Does Alcohol Affect the Body?

Unlike Molly, Alcohol is a depressant. This means that using alcohol causes the body to slow down and enter a state of sedation. When under the influence of alcohol, brain activity, and cognitive function is impaired. Other side effects of alcohol use include:

  • Sedation
  • Loss of memory and lack of comprehension
  • Delayed cognitive and motor function
  • Balance problems
  • Blurred vision and sensation impairment
  • Slowed Breathing 
  • Depression

Alcohol is one of the most dangerous addictions, as withdrawing can be fatal if not done under the strict supervision of professionals. Adding another layer to this already dangerous condition can be lethal. 

Why Alcohol and Molly is a Lethal Combination? 

Molly and alcohol are essentially on opposite sides of the drug spectrum. They create opposite effects, alcohol being a downer and molly being an upper. For every side effect, molly has on the body, using alcohol will attempt to counteract it. This creates extreme confusion for the brain on how it should function. 

Additionally, both of these substances have a direct effect on mood chemicals and hormones. When both are being taken at the same time, the brain goes haywire and no longer understands how to function properly. 

Extreme Dehydration and overdosing are common under the influence of these two substances, as brain function is so low you may not realize how much you’ve taken. 

Treatment For Molly and Alcohol PolySubstance Abuse

Treatment for polysubstance abuse calls for the highest level of quality of care. This form of addiction is more complicated than being addicted to one single substance. Each substance needs to be addressed individually so that the body is properly detoxed and the emotional aspects of both are equally cared for. 

Treating one disorder alone will not address the individual as a whole, and recovery will likely not be successful. On top of addressing each substance separately, mental health conditions need to be addressed and cared for. Many people suffering from addiction have co-occurring mental health disorders. Dual-diagnosis conditions need specific treatment plans that address each aspect of the person, their addiction, and mental health. Attempting to treat addiction 

Treatment Options

Treatment options for polysubstance abuse are similar to that of regular addiction, but address both addictions at the same time.

 The first step in a successful treatment is a full detox. This is the most important step in drug rehab as the body needs to be completely flushed of any substances or toxins related to the substance. Without a successful detox, the body will still be functioning to some degree on the substance.  Detox should be completed in a medical facility under the supervision of professionals. Alcohol and Molly withdrawals can be fatal, so do not attempt to withdraw at home. 

Treatment options such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or ACT therapy are very effective options for helping people overcome their habits and thinking patterns that lead to substance abuse. The ability to rewire the brain’s way of thinking and perceiving situations will offer powerful tools to cope with difficult situations and remain drug-free for good. Other forms of therapy include group counseling and talk therapy. 

Counseling of any kind should be incorporated into treatment for molly and alcohol polysubstance abuse. Additionally, adding holistic treatment options such as art therapy, acupuncture, yoga, and mediation will help address the individual as a whole. 

Seeking Professional Help 

Seeking treatment at a professional rehabilitation center will offer the individual the benefit of all the services needed to recover in one place under the supervision of licensed professionals.  And one of the biggest components of a successful substance abuse treatment plan. Alcohol and Molly can create a lethal addiction condition, and treatment should not be attempted at home without professional help. Some of the services you can expect to receive in treatment for polysubstance abuse include:

  • Behavioral counseling
  • Medication
  • Medical devices and applications used to treat withdrawal symptoms or deliver skills training
  • Evaluation and treatment for co-occurring mental health issues such as depression and anxiety
  • Nutritional Counseling
  • Acupuncture/ Yoga/ Meditation
  • Coping Skills Courses 
  • Long-term follow-up to prevent relapse

Stop The Addiction Now: Take the 1st Step to Recovery

Addiction can feel like it will never end like there is no way out. Even with polysubstance abuse, there is always another option. Properly addressing both the physical and mental aspects of substance abuse and getting into the right treatment program has been proven to effectively treat molly and alcohol addiction. 

There are plenty of options for getting help for polysubstance abuse, and you should never be afraid to ask for help. Researching the best treatment centers in your area and getting yourself enrolled in a program as soon as possible with increase your chances of a successful recovery and healthy life. 

Addiction doesn’t need to rule your life, there is always a way out. If you or a loved one is struggling with polysubstance abuse with molly and alcohol, it’s time to find treatment and take back your life. Call (855) 425-4846 to speak with one of our addiction treatment specialists today! You can also contact us here.  

signs of adderall abuse

Adderall Abuse: Who’s Abusing it More?

Adderall addiction is yet another drug issue hurting communities nationwide. More specifically, our students. From high schools to college campuses, Adderall is becoming the drug of choice for many young people, and many end up needing addiction treatment for this substance.

Students rely on Adderall to help them get school work done. It’s a drug that temporarily increases focus and productivity. Thus, it’s even more dangerous for these students as they believe that Adderall correlates with success.

Recognizing the signs of Adderall abuse can help stop addiction in its tracks. Keep reading to learn more about how Adderall abuse is hurting students across the nation. 

What is Adderall? 

Adderall is a prescription medication that contains two drugs: amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. Adderall works by increasing dopamine and norepinephrine levels in the central nervous system. Norepinephrine impacts your brain’s response to events. More specifically, it affects how the brain pays attention and the speed at which it reacts to outside stimuli. 

Adderall produces unnaturally high levels of dopamine. Dopamine is the body’s “feel good” chemical which also creates a rewarding effect. These are the kind of effects that can make Adderall highly addictive. The brain of an addicted person relies on Adderall to stimulate a focused and productive state.

Using Adderall for an extended amount of time means that the user will develop a tolerance to the drug. Developing a tolerance means that functioning without the substance will become difficult. Without Adderall, addicted individuals often feel fatigued and mentally foggy.

It’s important to become aware of the signs of Adderall abuse. If you or a loved one is addicted to Adderall, you can seek help today for a better future.

What is Adderall Addiction?

Adderall addiction is when the individual grows a severe dependency on the drug. The user will take Adderall every day, often more than they were prescribed. If Adderall is being used recreationally, then the individual will eventually need to use more to feel the same effects. Using Adderall recreationally is just as dangerous as using it when prescribed and developing an addiction.

Addiction affects thousands of people in thousands of communities. It hurts individuals, families, and those around them. Adderall addiction can be spotted by becoming aware of the signs of Adderall abuse. 

The symptoms of Adderall abuse are simple to spot if you’re paying attention. Don’t let addiction rob you of another day.

Signs of Adderall Abuse

Adderall has a high potential for abuse. Recognizing the signs of Adderall abuse early on is crucial. The worst-case scenario of any addiction is a fatal overdose. The best way to avoid an overdose is to become aware of the signs of Adderall abuse. Once you’re aware of what’s happening, the road to recovery can begin.

As with any chemical dependency, subtle changes in personality and behavior may go unnoticed. Concerned individuals should look for the following signs in themselves or their loved ones:

● Loss of appetite

● Unusual talkativeness

● Excitability

● Withdrawal from normal social interaction

● Financial issues

● Uncalled for aggression

● Changing sleep patterns

● Secretive behavior

● Exhaustion

● Significant weight loss 

● Incomplete thoughts & memory loss

●Problems maintaining relationships 

● Lack of personal hygiene

● Disorientation, mania & impulsive behaviors

Abusing Adderall can quickly lead to addiction and overdose. As tolerance increases, more of the substance is taken to achieve the same effects. In another case, let’s say someone stops taking Adderall cold-turkey. 

If they return to using the drug at the same level, they may experience a reduced tolerance followed by an overdose. The signs of Adderall abuse are equally as important to understand as the symptoms of an overdose. 

Symptoms of Adderall overdose include:

● Anxiety & panic attacks

● Hallucinations

● Hyperventilating

● Irregular heartbeat

● Loss of consciousness

● Severe confusion

● Tremors

● Vertigo

Adderall Abuse Across the Nation

Adderall is a drug that’s being abused across the nation. Statistics reveal a scary truth to us all. Students are severely affected by this, especially those in college and high school. These early on-set habits have the potential to turn into full-fledged drug addiction. 

Did you know that between 2006 and 2011, nonmedical use of Adderall and emergency room visits involving the drug increased significantly, while treatment visits stayed the same? This shows us that many Adderall users don’t see themselves as having a problem. Adderall misuse rose 67 percent, and ER visits went up 156 percent, with family and friends serving as the primary source. 

Young adults (age 18-25) made up 60 percent of those using Adderall for nonmedical reasons, as stated by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

To make matters worse, the number of adults filling a benzodiazepine prescription increased 67 percent (from 8.1 million to 13.5 million) between 1996 and 2013. The total quantity filled more than tripled. During this same period, the overdose death rate for benzodiazepines more than quadrupled, according to the American Journal of Public Health.

As we break down these statistics, it helps to understand the demographics affected. Signs of Adderall abuse can be spotted more easily when we’re aware of who is affected the most.    

High School Students

Steve Pasierb, President, and CEO of the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, said it best:

“The rates of Adderall misuse and abuse among high school seniors remain unacceptably high and the new data makes it very clear: the abuse of all prescription medicines is an immediate threat to the health of America’s teens.”

Furthermore, the Monitoring the Future survey revealed that usage of Adderall among high school seniors in 2015 reached 7.5 percent – among the highest usage levels for prescription, over-the-counter and illicit drugs other than marijuana. 

Adderall addiction is posing a major danger to our students early on. High schoolers then bring their Adderall use to college. It’s a toxic cycle that creates generations of Adderall users. 

It’s even more dangerous when these students encounter other students using Adderall the same way they are. Addiction becoming normalized is another major threat that’s being posed.

College Students

Adderall is the most commonly prescribed amphetamine. When it comes to college students, the goal of using Adderall is to increase productivity. Many students feel that they work significantly better when on Adderall. 

According to the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, full-time students abuse Adderall at twice the rate of their peers who don’t attend college. On college campuses, it’s the second-most common drug of abuse. The only other drug that’s more popular is marijuana.

National research also shows that full-time college students between the ages of 18 to 22 years old are twice as likely as those who are not full-time students to report using Adderall. College students are abusing Adderall at an extremely high rate. To make matters worse, college students don’t feel like using Adderall is particularly dangerous. 

In 2016, a national survey indicated that 38.5 percent of college-age individuals (19 to 22 years old) reported that regularly taking these drugs for nonmedical purposes did not pose a “great risk” of harm.

Graduated College Students

Our college students are facing a serious problem with Adderall addiction. Unfortunately, recognizing signs of Adderall abuse is nearly impossible if they’re not even aware that there’s an issue at hand. 

This early dependency on Adderall creates a bad habit for many. So much so, that it can even be continued in the workplace. 

In 2010, a student by the name of Raphael was a first-semester college freshman struggling to get through finals. He then decided to try Adderall. After all, it seemed like that’s what most of his friends were doing to get by. Raphael noticed a major difference in his productivity which turned him on to more frequent use. 

This more frequent use then started to follow him into the workplace. Alan Schwarz is an author of ADHD Nation: Children, Doctors, Big Pharma, and the Making of an American Epidemic. He talks a lot about how millennials are graduating into the workplace, and many of them are continuing to use prescription stimulants as job-performance enhancers. 

“It stands to reason that if you feel as if you succeeded in college partly because of these drugs, you’re more likely to feel as if you need them to succeed in the workplace,” Schwarz says.

Schwartz conducted a lot of studies to get to the bottom of who exactly is using Adderall in the workplace. Turns out, it’s not reserved for one industry. Schwarz spoke to a glassblower, a yoga teacher, a beer-warehouse stacker, newspaper reporters, bartenders, professors, dentists, doctors, and truck drivers who all acknowledged taking Adderall to power through their work.

This reveals a truth to us all: Adderall abuse and addiction can affect anyone. However, there is a trend taking place. College students using Adderall is far more than just a way to get through finals. It’s the beginning of an addiction that caries itself into other areas of their lives. 

Adderall Addiction Doesn’t Have to Last: Get Help Today

There is a way out of Adderall addiction. Recognizing the early signs of Adderall abuse can save you from an addiction early on.

At 1st Step Behavioral Health in Pompano Beach, Florida, you can begin the road to recovery. With proper treatment and care, you can get better. Call us at (866) 319-6126 to learn more about available Adderall addiction treatment programs at 1st Step Behavioral Health. You can also contact us here.


5 stages of addiction

What Are the Five Stages of Addiction?

The five stages of addiction are first use, continued use, tolerance, dependence, and addiction. Addiction affects millions of Americans in the United States every day. Did you know that 21 million Americans (aged 12 and up) required treatment for substance abuse in 2016?

By definition, The National Institute on Drug Abuse states that addiction is a “chronic relapsing brain disease”. It can also be defined by compulsive drug seeking, no matter how painful the consequences are. Addiction can be destroying your life, but you feel like you just can’t stop.

It is important to recognize the severity of addiction and its effects on the community. Not only does it cause the user pain, but those close to them as well. The fight against addiction can only be won if we’re honest with each other. Keep reading to learn more about the 5 stages of addiction.

Signs of Addiction

The five stages of addiction (first use, continued use, tolerance, dependence, and addiction) will all depict signs of addiction in their own way. It’s crucial to understand the cycle of addiction and its stages so medical professionals, friends, and family can step in. 

Mental health, family history of addiction or social environment are all factors that can come into play. Addiction can take form in a variety of different ways. Recognizing the signs early can help you get a head start on the road to recovery. Remember, brighter days can still be ahead.

Some of the first signs of addiction can include:

  • Sacrifices: Experiencing addiction often means giving up hobbies that once brought you joy. Or, not attending fun events or hangouts because the substance won’t be there. In other words, you’re replacing what could have enriched you with a substance.
  • Physical changes in appearance: Depending on the substance of choice, the physical effects may vary. However, almost all addicts look drained. They may look pale and tired, rather than refreshed and awake. With a substance like heroin, addicts may pick at their skin and develop lots of wounds on their faces. 
  • Being secretive: In many cases, a person with a substance use disorder may use the substance alone or in secret.
  • Denial: Those with the most severe problems may not even realize they have one. They might be aware of physical dependence on a substance but refuse to seek treatment.
  • Financial difficulties: Even if the individual didn’t have a lot of money to begin with, this can still be an issue. The addict will find ways to buy the drug or alcohol, despite financial consequences. They make take money from their savings or even resort to stealing.

The Five Stages of Addiction

The stages of addiction are first use, continued use, tolerance, dependence, and addiction. Although each situation is unique, addiction can generally be divided into five segments. These stages of addiction allow us to get a better understanding of what the patient is experiencing. Below, is a more detailed look at each stage. 

1. First Use

Using for the first time can be a result of experimentation or a medication that was prescribed by a physician. It’s rarely something you can expect. It can catch you and your loved ones by surprise. 

During this stage, the individual will now have an understanding of what this particular drug makes them feel like. The first use is like a hook; it pulls you right in. Although one’s intentions may be to never get addicted, that doesn’t always end up being the case. 

Someone may begin using because of mental or emotional issues they must address. During treatment, we’ll assess your reason behind using. Then, we’ll think of solutions on how to target these issues through medical care and therapy. 

2. Continued Use

Continued use can also fall into two categories. Continued use can be a result of taking the medication prescribed as a requirement. Florida has a major problem when it comes to the prescription of opiates. Those who would have never tried the drug are now using it to medicate themselves for physical pain. Sometimes they don’t realize that addiction is taking place.

On the other hand, it can be out of interest in using the substance recreationally. Continued use is when it starts to become a habit.

In the continued use stage, a person may also notice that their recovery time becomes longer. Their high is followed by their brain trying to figure out what just happened. It takes the brain longer to chemically repair itself and balance back out during this stage of addiction.

3. Tolerance

Tolerance is often the first warning sign of addiction. Tolerance is when the brain and body have become adjusted to the substance. Now, it takes, even more, to feel the same effect one felt when taking less. Tolerance is typically experienced after the drug has been used for an extended amount of time.

For example, let’s take someone that’s developed a tolerance to a prescription painkiller their doctor prescribed. They may begin to realize that the same dosage no longer alleviates their pain.

4. Dependence

Dependence is a dangerous stage of addiction. At this point, intense withdrawal symptoms may begin. The user will feel the physical effects when the drug isn’t used. In other words, your body builds up a dependency on drugs or alcohol.

Chemically, the brain has become used to the drug or alcohol. This makes the user feel like they “need” it. This is important to understand because, at this point, it’s largely biological. Your body is reacting a certain way that you must learn to cope with.

Withdrawal can even include flu-like symptoms with opiates, or sweats and shakiness with alcohol.

These symptoms may temporarily go away when the substance is back in the picture. With dependence on any substance, one doesn’t feel “normal” if they’re not using. This stage is a sign that addiction is starting to take place.

5. Addiction

Addiction is the last of the five stages. Addicts find it nearly impossible to stop using, despite the severe consequences of the addiction itself. They may even go back and forth between recovery and relapse. 

On the other hand, an addict may also be in denial. They may be completely unwilling to get help in the first place. This is a tough place to be in. However, we want to emphasize that it doesn’t have to stop here.

Things can get better. There’s hope for a better tomorrow. Take control back into your hands today and let us guide you through recovery.

The Five Stages of Addiction Doesn’t Have to Take Over Your Life

To reiterate, the five stages of addiction are first use, continued use, tolerance, dependence, and addiction. We convince ourselves that we’re broken and things are hopeless. However, we can’t assure you that this isn’t the case. There is a tremendous amount of beauty that can come from the most painful part of life. 

From pain comes growth and that growth can catapult you into a much happier life. No matter how hopeless you feel now, you can make a lasting change in your life. 

This is Strictly a Guide

Here at 1st Step Behavioral Health, we believe in each patient being unique. As with all chronic diseases, there are variations within the stages. For example, a heavy drinker may develop a dependence but never an addiction. It does depend on the person and the unique situation.

If you need more clarity on the five stages of addiction, don’t hesitate to ask our caring specialists. We understand that learning all of this information can be overwhelming. However, just by choosing to read this you’re already taking a step in the right direction.

Take the First Step With Us Today

We’re ready to guide you through it all. You don’t have to be alone and you certainly don’t deserve to suffer. If we can help you or a loved one in any way, contact us at 1st Step Behavioral Health today. You can also call us at (866) 599-4920.

The five stages of addiction do not have to be part of your or a loved one’s life anymore. Where there is a will, there is away.


vitamins for anxiety

No More Benzos: 5 Holistic Treatment Options for Anxiety

Anxiety can overwhelm your day-to-day life and get in the way of the things in life that really bring you joy. Many may be tempted to throw medication at the problem without actually doing any self-work. Holistic treatments are an incredibly effective, natural way to combat anxiety. Keep reading to find out how these all-natural treatments for anxiety can help you today.

Anxiety is the most common mental health disorder in the United States. Although there are many different forms of anxiety, there are core aspects of the disorder that generally stay the same. If you or a loved one has anxiety, you may find yourself overwhelmed by your thoughts – unable to turn them off.

You may find it difficult to relax, maintain healthy relationships and participate in fulfilling activities. Anxiety tends to create a monster in your head out of nothing, convincing you things that you feel like you have no control over. However, there are many treatments available to help with anxiety. Keep reading to find out some of the many natural ways you or a loved one can alleviate the pain of dealing with anxiety.

1. Exercise

The physical benefits of exercise have been proven to us time and time again. We’ve heard it from our physicians and we’ve read more articles on it then we could count. Nonetheless, a lot of people still choose to stay inactive. We encourage you to at least try and see the mental benefits for yourself. 

Exercise is considered vital for maintaining one’s mental well-being and reducing stress. Studies show that it is very effective at not only reducing fatigue but also improving concentration and at enhancing overall cognitive function. This can be especially beneficial when stress has taken your energy away.

If your body feels better, so does your mind. Physical activity produces endorphins which are chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers. This can also improve your ability to sleep, which in return reduces stress.

In fact, scientists have found that consistent participation in aerobic exercise has been shown to decrease overall levels of tension, elevate and stabilize mood, improve sleep, and even increase your self-esteem. Just five minutes of aerobic exercise can begin to stimulate anti-anxiety effects.

Psychologists studying how exercise alleviates anxiety and depression suggest that a 10-minute walk may be just as effective as a 45-minute workout. Other studies show that exercise can work at a quick rate to improve a depressed mood in many people. All of these characteristics make exercise a great treatment option for anxiety.

2. Meditation

Understanding anxiety is the first step in working through it and finding treatment. Once we take time to learn about its chaotic nature; we can also start to heal ourselves in a way that corresponds with the feelings of anxiety triggers.

Anxiety is a cognitive state connected to an inability to regulate emotions. The beauty of this fact is that treating anxiety means giving yourself the power back. You hold the power to regulate your emotions and choose how to respond to situations – you just need to learn how! 

We understand that it may sound like something that is easier said than done, but we also want to encourage you to see that pain is temporary. Discomfort is temporary. You (or a loved one) have so much potential to get better and improve. 

Research shows that a consistent meditation practice reprograms neural pathways in the brain and, therefore, improves our ability to handle unpleasant emotions. Through meditation, we make ourselves comfortable with anxiety-inducing thoughts and storylines. We learn to see them, sit with them, and let them go. When we do this, we learn two important things: thoughts do not define us, and thoughts are not real. 

Once we learn this lesson, we are able to slowly but surely change our relationship with anxiety. In other words, it allows us to differentiate between what is an irrational episode and what’s true.

Another positive of this skill is learning body awareness, which teaches us to bring our attention to any physical sensations felt in the present moment. In exploring these feelings and sensations, you sit with your senses in the same way you sit with your thoughts. This go-to technique can provide a safe place that can be consistently used whenever anxiety turns it’s head around the corner.

3. Natural Vitamins

It’s a proven scientific fact that what you eat can significantly impact your mood. Nutritional deficiencies can worsen mental health disorders, while a nutritionally complete diet can help improve symptoms and in this case, act as an anxiety treatment option. While many natural vitamins can be taken supplement form, they’re more effectively absorbed by the body when ingested by eating whole foods.

Some of the most general natural vitamins for anxiety include:

  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids

These acids are vital for cognitive functioning. In fact, Harvard studied have proven that they improve symptoms of depression, which is often also closely linked with anxiety disorders. You can find omega-3 fatty acids in salmon, tuna, mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines and anchovies.

  • Probiotics

Probiotics are microorganisms known for their benefits to digestive health. However, recent research has revealed that probiotics can also have a profound impact on mental health. A healthy balance of bacteria in the body can boost the body’s ability to cope with stress, improve overall mental health and bolster cognitive functioning.

You can find probiotics in sauerkraut, yogurt, kimchi, tempeh, kombucha, miso and pickles.

  • B Vitamins

B vitamins are vital to a healthy nervous system functioning. Their role is crucial in many aspects of mental health, such as attention, energy and cognition. They can also have an intense impact on two key factors of anxiety symptoms: stress management and mood. You can find B vitamins in wild salmon, shrimp, tuna, halibut, yogurt, eggs, cheese, lamb, venison, turkey, grass-fed beef, carrots and green, leafy vegetables.

  • L-Theanine

L-theanine is an amino acid that can improve focus, reduce stress and promote relaxation. You can find L-theanine can only be found in a few foods and drinks, including black tea, green tea, and bay bolete mushrooms.

4. Natural Supplements 

Consuming supplements and vitamins as an anxiety treatment can target the three most significant biological factors that contribute to anxiety and panic attacks: serotonin deficiency, low vitamin B6 levels, and low iron levels. When used with methods like talk therapy, building a strong social support system, meditation, journaling, and prescription medications (if necessary) – supplements can provide a significant amount of relief.

Some of the best supplements and vitamins used to alleviate symptoms of anxiety include:

  • GABA

Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is an amino acid and neurotransmitter located in the brain that is vital to serotonin production. Since serotonin is one of the nervous system’s most powerful, “feel-good” neurotransmitters, GABA affects mood regulation and relaxation in a very impactful way.

  • Passionflower

Passionflower is a calming herb typically used as a household treatment for anxiety. Its been proven to promote positive moods, enhance sleep quality and alleviate nervousness.

  • Valerian Root

Although valerian root is generally known as a sleep aid, this herb can also be helpful for reducing anxiety. Once consumed, valeric acids found within the herb turn into calming, “feel-good” neurotransmitters in the body, regulating stress and relaxing the body and mind.

  • Licorice Root

This herb also carries a multitude of health benefits for people with anxiety because of the effects it has on the adrenal glands. Inside the body, the adrenal glands produce stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol. Licorice aids in regulating the production of these hormones, buffeting the body’s defenses against stress and lessen anxiety symptoms. Licorice root can also calm gastrointestinal upset, which many people with anxiety experience.

5. Journaling

Journaling is a powerful way to regulate your emotions and become more attuned to your thought patterns. It can also act as a great treatment option for anxiety.

Journaling helps keep your symptoms in check and improve your mood by:

  • Helping you prioritize problems, fears, and worries
  • Keeping track of any symptoms day-to-day so that you can recognize triggers and learn ways to better regulate them
  • Providing an opportunity for positive self-talk and identifying negative thoughts and behaviors

When you have a problem and you feel a little chaotic, keeping a journal can help you identify what’s causing that stress or anxiety. Once you’ve identified your triggers, you can work on a plan to come up with a solution and reduce your stress.

Look at your writing time as personal “you” time. You can de-stress and wind down, taking a few moments to be self-aware of what you feel. Write in a place that’s comfortable and soothing, maybe even with a cup of tea. Find the excitement in your journaling time. Cherish those moments you have with yourself and you’ll learn to appreciate the peace within what feels like chaos sometimes.

There are many wonderful, natural treatment options available for those struggling with anxiety. Here at 1st Step, we don’t see the road to recovery as being a linear line – it’s not just about therapy or medication. It is crucial to look into someone’s habits and lifestyle as well and improving their well-being from the ground up. We would love to be the ones to help you do that. 

You can talk to one of our specialists today by calling us at (866) 319-6126 or contacting us here.


freebasing cocaine

What is “Freebasing” Cocaine? What are the Dangers Associated?

Freebase cocaine is a dangerous and much more potent version of cocaine. Freebasing is the act of smoking this substance, highly increasing the user’s risk for a fatal overdose. It is really important to understand the dangers of freebasing so you or a loved one can make informed, smart decisions. We are here to guide you through what freebasing is and how we can help.

What Is “Freebasing” Cocaine?

Freebase cocaine isolates the substance from additives. This then results in an almost entirely pure form of cocaine. Cocaine in its purest form is potent and highly addictive. There are detrimental health effects regarding freebase cocaine, as well as an even higher risk for a drug overdose. 

It is important for us to walk you through the dangers and harsh reality of freebasing cocaine. Drug abuse and addiction are no easy obstacles to overcome, but they are most certainly overcomeable. The more informed you are on the problem, the more measures you can take to make sure you’re making smart decisions. 

Freebase cocaine is also a solid form of the drug. In other words – it’s base form. In these cases, cocaine is smoked as a solid which is labeled as crack cocaine. “Freebasing,” allows users to experience the drug in its purest form, resulting in life-threatening effects.

It’s a dangerous drug and that’s why we want to make sure you’re informed.

If you or a loved one is struggling with a cocaine addiction, please know that you can seek help. Begin your road to recovery by contacting us here today. 

Our staff is here to help.

Why “Freebase” Cocaine?

After the base of cocaine has been freed, taking away the additive, what’s left is a pure form of the drug. The low melting point is what makes it smokeable. 

When a substance is smoked, the effects tend to be felt more immediately regarding any type of drug. This also applies when it comes to smoking freebase cocaine. For a drug user that’s looking to feel the effects as quickly as possible, freebasing may be something they choose to do without realizing how dangerous it really is. 

What are the Effects of Freebase Cocaine? 

This results in a feeling that can be described as a euphoric rush. The effects of smoking this type of cocaine are felt seconds after. It is very short-lived, usually lasting less than 30 minutes. The intensity of this rush is what gets people hooked. 

The high can be described by having an immense amount of energy, clear focus, as well as hypersensitivity to light, sound, and touch. The feeling after the high is classified as the come-down. Not only does it last longer, but it is just as intense and far less pleasant. Although the high entices people to try this, the low is far worse and completely reverses any positive feelings felt during the high. 

These are the extreme feelings that can be felt during a cocaine comedown: 

  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Paranoia
  • Depression

These feelings are severe enough to keep people from every freebasing again. This intense switch in emotions is dangerous and can lead to serious issues in the abuse and addiction to cocaine. Chasing the high that freebasing gives creates a toxic cycle. 

Long-Term Effects of Cocaine Freebasing

Malnourishment and lack of appetite are common effects. During a binge, a person abusing cocaine may take dose after dose to continue feeling the high that it creates. Since effects are short-lived, users end up binging the drug not realizing how much they’re actually taking. The long-term effects of freebasing cocaine are unavoidable.

Binges can be dangerous due to the risk of overdose from a large amount of cocaine in the body all within a small time frame. Also, cocaine abuse can cause someone to be irritable and restless, as well as extremely paranoid.

Paranoia may be one of the more detrimental effects of cocaine abuse. It happens especially after binges, and can even result in delusions and hallucinations. Abusing cocaine for an extended amount of time can also damage nerves, affecting movement, and may even lead to Parkinson’s disease.

Consequences of Extended Cocaine Freebasing

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) explains, “repeated use of cocaine can cause long-term changes in the brain’s reward circuit and other brain systems, which may lead to addiction.” Developing an addiction occurs when somebody uses a substance for an extended amount of time, thus developing a dependency on it. Freebase cocaine is severely addictive with serious consequences.

Addiction changes the way a person’s brain responds to feelings of pleasure (reward). Abusing freebase cocaine leads to an excess buildup in the brain of the chemical dopamine. The brain eventually adapts to this change, no longer responding to the drug’s effects. In other words, one may adopt a tolerance to the drug thus needing much more to get the same effect. It is a dangerous rabbit hole to go down that leads to nowhere good. 

Because the brain so enjoyed the first and any subsequent rush feelings associated with abuse, it craves that feeling. Cravings can become so intense that they disrupt your daily functioning. Life with addiction becomes all about seeking a way to fulfill and ease the cravings. The dependency takes over your emotional and mental state, clouding your thoughts and judgment.

When people try to ignore these cravings or have no access to cocaine, withdrawal occurs. This process can be physically challenging, as the body responds to the brain’s urges. 

Cocaine withdrawal may be characterized by:

  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Muscle pain
  • Thoughts of self-harm
  • Unpleasant dreams
  • Slowed thought process
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Depression
  • Fatigue

To alleviate the troubling process of withdrawal, those who are addicted may begin taking more frequent and/or higher doses. This can lead to overdose, which can end up being fatal.

Risks Of Cocaine Overdose

When somebody overdoses, the outcome is often fatal. A nearly pure form of cocaine can be significantly more dangerous. Many types of the drug are mixed with something which then makes the substance less potent. Freebase cocaine is both pure and smoked which enables people to feel the effects quicker. Feeling the effects quicker with such an intense onset increases the user’s risk of overdosing.

In cases when a person is addicted and starts increasing doses or dosage frequency, this is especially true. It could be easy to accidentally take too much of the drug. Also, people who typically take crack cocaine or the powdered form may not understand how strong freebase cocaine is. When switching to smoking freebase, the user may take way too much the first time because they’re not aware of how significant the effects are. 

Overdose is a medical emergency which means it must be treated that way. Symptoms of cocaine overdose consist of convulsions, increased heart rate, hyperventilation, and coma.

The health consequences of cocaine abuse and overdose include irregular heart rhythm, heart attacks, seizures, and strokes, according to the NIDA.

Treatment For Cocaine Abuse

There are currently no specific medications available for the treatment of cocaine abuse. However, multiple kinds of therapy have proven effective. According to NIDA, one of the best forms of treatment available is cognitive-behavioral therapy.

This evidence-based method helps addicted individuals free themselves from the stagnancy and routine of addiction. Once a person’s life adapts around their drug abuse routine, it is often hard to break that cycle. Cognitive-behavioral therapy helps people build clean, healthy lifestyle habits.

Other treatment approaches for cocaine abuse may include:

  • Dialectical behavioral therapy
  • Gender-based treatment
  • Adventure therapy
  • Wilderness therapy
  • Dual diagnosis

Aftercare is also important in treating cocaine abuse and addiction. Seeking out support groups, taking part in 12-Step programs, and living in drug-free, residential communities are all viable aftercare options for those recovering.

Cocaine Abuse And Addiction Statistics 

The United States has been experiencing an opioid crisis for decades now. Although most of us may know this; the nation is dealing with another, lesser-known rise in substance use. In recent years, national rates of cocaine use have increased. There are serious consequences in cocaine use that we must become aware of. 

Cocaine-related overdose deaths are on the rise, too, and opioids are largely at fault. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics states that the number of overdose deaths involving cocaine almost doubled in two years — jumping from 5,892 in 2014 to 11,316 in 2016.

According to the Drug Enforcement Administration’s 2018 National Drug Threat Assessment, the rise in cocaine use is partly due to its rise in accessibility. The assessment further focuses on the increase in the supply and production of Colombian coca and the production of cocaine.

“Record levels of coca cultivation and cocaine production in Colombia, the primary source for cocaine seized and tested in the United States, has widened the cocaine market, leading to increased domestic abuse,” the report explains. 

“Increased availability levels and concurrent lowered domestic prices will likely propel this trend through the near-term.”

Although these statistics may seem a little overwhelming, they are here to show you how serious of a problem freebasing is. Nonetheless, there is always light at the end of the tunnel. 

We’re Here to Help You

If you have watched someone you love and care for fall deeper into the cycle of addiction, you understand the struggle of breaking free. Treatment can help pull you or your loved one out of the habit of abuse and into a new, much healthier lifestyle. 

Contact us today and let us help you or a loved one begin the road to recovery. You can also call us at (866) 319-6126.



What About Your Needs? How Family Members of Alcoholics Can Find Support

If you are the loved one of an alcoholic, you know these are not easy shoes to wear. Over 14 million Americans suffer from alcohol abuse or alcoholism. That is one is 13 adults who have issues related to alcohol. 

Not only are these astounding numbers of people who are alcoholics. it also means huge numbers of people who love and care for them are facing the challenges of their alcoholism.  

If you are a loved one of an alcoholic, you need to know some important things you should do. Take a look at these ideas in dealing with the struggles you faced because your loved one is an alcoholic.

Address and Discuss the Problem

The first step is addressing the problem. Find a time to talk with your loved one about their alcohol use. This should not be a time when they have already been drinking. Make every attempt to avoid being confrontational, but instead, try to raise the concern over their alcohol use. 

Ask them to address their problem. See if they are willing to recognize they have an issue. They have to be willing to do something or get the help you can’t do that for them 

At the same time, don’t ignore the problem in front of you. If you have been dealing with someone’s alcohol abuse you know they might resist the discussion to get help. Keep trying by showing your love and concern, reiterating your desire for them to get help.

Even they don’t want to get help. Get it for yourself through treatment or support. 

Don’t Enable the Alcoholics Bad Habits

Resist acting as an enabler to your loved one’s bad habits or addiction. It is understandable to feel embarrassed by their actions.

Do not lie for them or cover up their actions as this only supports them continuing. If you want them to see the consequences of their actions, you cannot be the one covering those up. 

Of course, do not buy alcohol for them. Don’t let them convince you it’s okay for them to have a drink or to celebrate with alcohol. 

You cannot fix their behavior. So it’s important to continue to ask them to seek help. 

Set Boundaries

You may not be able to stop the alcoholic in your life from drinking. You can make clear what you will tolerate by establishing boundaries and sticking to them no matter how hard it becomes. 

These boundaries can be as simple as refusing to tell lies for them when they are abusing alcohol. It might mean you need to take steps to protect your finances so the addicted person doesn’t affect your financial future. 

Of course, you must protect yourself if the alcoholic if abusive. You need to take action to protect yourself if you are at risk of any type of abuse.

Educate Yourself About Addiction

This is so important in the process of recovery for everyone involved. You need to learn about the real truths of addiction. Do research. Seek out trustworthy sources to teach about the impacts of alcohol on the addicted and their loved ones. 

Education is power. The more you understand about the realities of addiction to alcohol the better you can handle the ups and downs of recovery. It also helps you to overcome many of the stigmas that can be attached to alcoholism. 

If you have a strong understanding of addiction, you can also better work to advocate on behalf of your loved one. 

Find Support

Living with someone who has an addiction can create real and long term stressors in your life. It can create dysfunction in the family dynamic. 

While every experience is different, finding others who have walked in your shoes can be huge in helping you face the struggles of addiction. 

It can lift a weight to talk with someone who understands the weight of addiction. Having an understanding and nonjudgemental ears to listen is so helpful.

Many professional alcohol programs also offer support groups for families to talk to each other as part of their overall program services. 

Seek Therapy for Yourself and Your Family

In addition to finding others who share your experiences, seek out the help of a professional therapist. The dynamics of dealing with their addiction can be overwhelming. In addition to worrying about them, you might worry about children.

A therapist for yourself or a family therapist can help everyone navigate the muddy waters of living with an alcoholic. They can see the situation objectively and offer you advice to cope with the real emotions and struggles you face. 

Therapists can help you address stress, guilt, anger, distrust, and frustration you feel. They can help you with strategies to address the problems you are facing while living with someone struggling with addiction.

Manage Your Expectations

If you have been able to get your loved one to seek help, a big weight is probably lifted from your shoulders. You might even feel like now everything will be okay. Remember recovery is a process. 

It is important that you manage your own expectations about how the recovery will go. It is not a situation where a switch is flipped and suddenly everything is better. Treatment for addiction takes real work and can be riddled with ups and downs. 

Be realistic and understand the process. It is not fair to the person in recovery to put unrealistic expectations on them. It also isn’t fair to you. Mistakes or bumps on the recovery road may happen. 

If you try to prepare yourself for the possibility it will be easier to understand. Focus on what you can to support not only your loved one but yourself too. 

Take Care of Yourself

Living with an alcoholic can be overwhelming and fraught with stressful situations. You might want to focus so much on them that you forget you need self-care too.  It’s the truth when people say you cannot take care of someone else if you aren’t healthy too. 

Make sure you are eating healthy, getting exercise and getting enough sleep. While it is easy to solely focus on this problem, do things for yourself too. 

Find out the things that bring you joy, whether it’s watching a movie, going out with friends, painting, and make time for it. You have to give yourself permission to be healthy even if someone you love might not be there yet. 

Support for Family Members of Alcoholics

Living with someone who struggles with alcohol can have a real impact on you and your family.  It can overwhelming and scary. It can also be frustrating. You might even find at times you are angry and you don’t know how to manage it. 

The loved ones of alcoholics need help too. We want to help you help your loved one.

Learn more about addiction on our blog or contact us today for help in addressing the problem your faces with alcohol.


addictive personality

What to Expect When Dating Someone with an Addictive Personality

You’ve been thinking about it for a while. It’s been filling your thoughts every day and keeping you awake at night. It’s not easy, you know, dating someone new. And, it’s even more challenging when the individual has an addictive personality. So, building a successful relationship with this individual is a challenge you’re not sure you can face.

It’s something that a lot of people are dealing with right now. So, believe it or not, you’re not alone in your uncertainty. There are many people who are a little unsure about what to expect when dating someone with an addictive personality.

It can be challenging to understand what your significant other is dealing with and experiencing. So, it’s best to be prepared when beginning a relationship with the individual you care about.

Let’s first discuss some of the traits of a person who has an addictive personality. Then, we’ll talk about the ways in which you can work through challenges within the relationship and how you can make sure the relationship remains healthy for both you and your partner.

Dating a Recovering Addict or Someone With an Addictive Personality

Perhaps the person you’re interested in used to struggle with drug or alcohol addiction. Maybe the individual suffered from substance dependence for months, even years. Now, he or she is in recovery, working to build a life free from addiction.

Many times, people who are in recovery are advised to avoid romantic relationships for at least a year. It allows them to spend more time working on themselves and overcoming the negative effects of addiction. It also gives them time to heal from the pain of substance dependence.

Addiction is complex and it isn’t always easy to understand the effects of it. Even after treatment, people who have struggled with substance abuse and addiction often have a hard time working through the changes that addiction brought to their lives.

Drug and alcohol addictions can cause people to feel isolated and distanced from others. It can cause separations in families and amongst circles of friends. People who suffer from substance dependence and addiction often spend more time using or in search of substances to use than they do with their loved ones.

Drug and alcohol addictions literally take over people’s lives. So, once an individual reaches out for help and goes through professional addiction treatment, it’s best for him or her to take time to completely overcome the effects of addiction.

In many situations, people who develop addiction problems have what is known as an addictive personality. So, even after treatment, they may struggle to stay free from addiction because of their personality traits.

This is why it’s so important to understand what you should expect when dating an individual who has an addictive personality. The challenges that your partner will face will also affect your relationship with him or her. They’ll impact the way your significant other interacts and communicates with you.

Since the romantic partner in your life has struggles of his or her own and shows characteristics of an addictive personality, it’s important for you to understand exactly what life will be like while you are involved with the individual.

The Importance of Identifying and Understanding the Traits of an Addictive Personality

First, it’s important to address the fact that many people feel that there is no such thing as an addictive personality. Individuals, including some professionals, believe that people don’t necessarily have personalities which could lead them to develop addiction problems.

The truth is that diction is caused by many different elements. There are many contributing factors. One’s personality is only one of those factors; environment, genetics, mental health, and emotional health also play a role in the development of addiction.

Still, it’s important to avoid tossing out the idea of how one’s personality and characteristics can cause people to become addicted to drugs, alcohol, and even other things such as shopping, eating, gambling, sex, and much more.

A person who has an addictive personality usually shows certain traits. These characteristics often show themselves in more ways than one. And, they can certainly become evident to the people who spend a lot of time with the individual, including family members and romantic partners.

So, if you think the person you are in a relationship with may have an addictive personality, it will be helpful to know more about the traits and characteristics that are usually found in those who have this kind of personality.

What You Can Expect in Your Relationship

While it’s true that you should be wise and cautious about beginning a relationship with someone who has an addictive personality, it’s important to understand that you don’t necessarily need to avoid spending time with people who are dealing with these traits.

Instead, take the time to learn more about this type of personality and how you can help those you care about as they work to overcome these traits. You should, however, make sure that the person you’re dating is aware of the problem their facing and is actively working to improve.

Now, let’s talk about a few of the things your significant other may struggle with if he or she has an addictive personality. Your partner may:

  • Suffer from anxiety.
  • Feel depressed often.
  • Exhibit obsessive behaviors.
  • Be impulsive and take risks often.
  • Seem unnaturally cautious at times.
  • Struggle to connect with you emotionally.
  • Have a hard time controlling his/her feelings.
  • Show signs of instability in various areas of life.

Sometimes, the person you care about may struggle to regulate his or her emotions. This can negatively impact the way he or she interacts with you. And, since your loved one may have trouble expressing what’s going on in their life, misunderstandings can happen frequently.

As you work to establish a meaningful and successful relationship, it’s important to understand that things will be far from easy. It may be beneficial to get counseling and learn how to work through difficult moments.

If, however, this relationship is proving to be anything but healthy for you or your significant other, then it’s important to avoid going any further.

How 1st Step Can Help

If you think someone you care about is struggling with addiction or has an addictive personality, you can help them by pointing them toward treatment! Through professional treatment and therapy, your loved one can find peace and freedom. Just contact us today to learn more about our services! Call (866) 319-6126 today.


Dual Diagnosis PTSD

The Correlation Between PTSD and Substance Abuse: How to Recognize When You Need Help

Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, affects people all over the world. Individuals of varying races, from diverse communities, and with different pasts and walks of life are currently facing the effects of PTSD in their lives.

PTSD is, unfortunately, a commonly seen disorder in our communities. People who have experienced traumatic and life-altering events in their lives are at risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder.

Children who have been emotionally abused, women and men who have served in the military, people who have been physically or sexually assaulted, and many other individuals know all too well how trauma can impact daily life.

Sadly, many individuals who are dealing with the effects of trauma develop PTSD and, eventually, find themselves suffering from substance abuse and addiction.

PTSD and substance abuse often co-occur, changing the lives of those who are dealing with them.

Perhaps this is the case in your own life. Maybe you’ve been affected by post-traumatic stress disorder and have become dependent on drugs or alcohol. If so, just know that you aren’t alone. In fact, over 50% of those who are dealing with PTSD are also suffering from addiction.

You don’t need to face these issues alone. Through professional therapy and addiction treatment, you can overcome the effects of PTSD and substance abuse for good!

Maybe you’re a little unsure about whether or not you need to go to treatment. Many people find it difficult to recognize when it’s time to reach out for help. But, it’s good to learn more about what you’re experiencing and how it’s actually impacting your life. This will help you to make the best decision regarding treatment.

About PTSD and Substance Abuse

Needless to say, PTSD and substance use disorder are both very serious. People who suffer from either of these disorders often have trouble leading normal lives.

The symptoms of PTSD can cause life to become very challenging. Post-traumatic stress disorder is caused by many different elements. The causes vary from person to person.

But, regardless of the many people who struggle with the effects of this particular disorder have difficulty managing and controlling their emotions and feelings. It can be hard to live with the recurring memories of the past.

Post-traumatic stress disorder is characterized by things like flashbacks, nightmares, and vivid memories centered around the traumatic event(s) the person experienced. So, it can be difficult to thrive in the present when the mind is constantly struggling with thoughts of the past.

Substance abuse disorder, like PTSD, is often the result of many different factors. After people use drugs or alcohol excessively for a while, they may begin to abuse the substances. Eventually, this can lead to addiction.

Many times, people who drink or use drugs excessively do so in an attempt to cope with the negative effects of stress, physical pain, emotional disturbance, mental illness, and much more. Since the effects of drugs and alcohol wear off after a while, people continue to use them in order to escape from reality.

Sadly, this method of coping is extremely harmful and, in many cases, even deadly. So, it’s important to get professional treatment for dealing with substance abuse.

How are PTSD and Addiction Connected to Each Other?

So, how does a person end up dealing with both substance abuse and post-traumatic stress disorder? Well, there are several reasons why these two disorders frequently co-occur in people’s lives.

Often, individuals who are living with PTSD suffer from its effects on a regular basis. This disorder often impacts people’s day-to-day lives. It affects people’s ability to interact and connect with others. And it causes symptoms such as:

  • Isolation
  • Agitation
  • Irritability
  • Paranoia
  • Loneliness
  • Guilt or shame
  • Trouble focusing
  • Feelings of fear
  • Poor self-esteem
  • Sleep disturbances

People may take medication to help treat some of the symptoms of PTSD. But, sometimes, these symptoms can become extremely overwhelming. Unfortunately, many people struggle to deal with these effects in a healthy way. So, they turn to drug and alcohol use.

As a result, many individuals develop substance abuse and addiction problems. So, in addition to PTSD, they also begin dealing with the harmful effects of excessive substance use.

Do I Need to Get Professional Treatment?

As we mentioned earlier, it’s not always easy to recognize the need for professional treatment in your life. Many people have a difficult time realizing what’s happening in their lives when addiction or any other disorder is in the mix.

Some individuals struggle to understand the symptoms they’re experiencing. It can all be very challenging to work through. So, if you are currently a little uncertain about what’s going on in your life, be sure to be patient with yourself.

But, it’s also important to avoid trying to get through this alone. There is help for you through treatment and therapy. Whether you need to go through residential treatment for substance abuse or therapy to help you deal with the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder, you can find freedom!

1st Step Behavioral Health Can Provide Treatment for You!

Not only can treatment help people to overcome substance dependence and addiction, but it can also help individuals to deal with and work through co-occurring disorders, including PTSD.

When a person is suffering from multiple disorders, such as alcoholism and post-traumatic stress disorder, this is called “dual diagnosis”. If an individual has a dual diagnosis, it’s important to go through a professional treatment program that will deal with each of the disorders he or she is dealing with.

Here at 1st Step Behavioral Health, we work to help people find peace through freedom from addiction. But, we also understand that many of our clients are also dealing with other issues in their lives. Some of these other struggles may actually contribute to addiction. So, it’s important to also deal with those problems in addition to substance abuse.

Through our dual diagnosis treatment program, we work to help our clients overcome substance abuse and addiction as well as co-occurring disorders. So, if you or someone you care about is suffering from addiction and PTSD, just reach out to us here at 1st Step Behavioral Health.

Call us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you or your loved one: (866) 319-6126


teenagers on drugs

Teenagers on Drugs: 7 Reasons They Start Using

For teens, it can start as experimenting with drugs or alcohol at a party. Then it turns to addiction and abuse later on in life. As 90% of people who struggle with substance abuse started using before they turned 18 years old. 

The reasons adolescents start using can be genetics, their environment, or social pressures. Teenagers on drugs also have a higher risk of developing an addiction.    

Read on to learn the main reasons teenagers turn to drugs and how to help them. 

1. Peer Pressure

A peer pressure definition includes teens getting influenced by friends or family members. This happens with teens trying drugs or alcohol to impress people in their social circle. It gets done as a way to fit in, rather than a personal choice. 

Social pressure can also happen with someone the teen is dating or from an older sibling. Peer pressure often takes place when teens choose to attend parties or social events. This is where drugs like marijuana, cocaine, and ecstasy are popular. 

Teens may start out by getting pressured with gateway drugs. Nicotine, alcohol, and marijuana are often seen as being less high risk by teens. 

Yet, this can sometimes lead to using more illicit drugs, like cocaine and heroin. These drugs pose extreme health risks and often lead to dependence and addiction.  

2. Unstable Mental Health 

The age of adolescence can be a fragile and emotional time. Many teens struggle with mood swings and changing hormones as their bodies develop. 

Some teens also have mental health disorders, which drugs and alcohol can make much worse. Here is more on the connection between depression and alcohol abuse and how it can affect a teen. 

During teen development, they often experience an imbalance of hormones. This lets in feelings of anxiety and depression. So teens may turn to drugs and alcohol to help them relax and control stress triggers.   

Using drugs can also affect an adolescent’s brain functions and development. An even scarier effect is that using drugs and alcohol can also lead to an increased risk of suicide.  

In these cases, a teen may need professional counseling or rehab. As this may reduce their risk of turning to drugs and alcohol. 

3. An Enabling Environment 

A teen’s environment can also impact the likelihood of them trying drugs and alcohol. Teens look to older siblings and parents as the people who help to shape their lives. This has a big effect on how the teen will view drugs and alcohol. 

An enabling environment also happens when teens don’t get reprimanded for their actions. This includes skipping classes or letting their grades slip. Engaging in risky behaviors is another sign that a teen may be acting out. 

Teens with missing parental guidance or a mentor may be more at risk. Problems at home, abuse, and neglect can also turn the teen towards substance abuse. Parents may also ignore or fail to notice the warning signs of alcoholism or drug abuse in their teen. 

4. A Family History of Addiction 

Genetics often comes into play for increasing one’s drug and alcohol addiction risk. Teens with addicted families are more likely to develop problems with substance abuse.

This can happen with one alcoholic parent or both parents struggling with addiction. The teen may also have an addictive personality that runs in the family. This can lead them to substance abuse problems. 

5. Having Easy Access to Drugs 

Teens that have drugs available to them can also get influenced in their decision to use. The type of neighborhood or community they live in can increase their exposure.

This also includes which school they go to and the school’s control over and policy on drugs. Some communities have a high amount of opioid abusers. This can increase prescription drugs getting sold in schools.  

If parents have controlled substances in the home, it helps to keep an eye on the medicine cabinet. Internet browser controls are also important. As some teens even turn to the internet to buy illegal drugs. 

6. An Experimental or High-Risk Personality

Teenager personality characteristics can make them more likely to try drugs. Some teens go through an experimental stage or use drugs to relieve boredom.

These type of teens who use drugs are often chasing a dopamine release. Using drugs and alcohol will also affect the teen’s decision-making process.  

These teens may also exhibit risky, curious, or thrill-seeking behaviors. This includes drinking and driving and having unprotected sex. Teens may also mix drugs and alcohol to enhance the effects. 

Those who drink energy drinks also have a higher chance of using drugs and alcohol. This is due to their personality traits and behavior patterns. 

7. Going Through a Tough Transition 

Some teens turn to drugs to help them deal with a big life transition or trauma. This often starts as a situational habit that turns to a coping mechanism. This is how addiction and dependence form in young adulthood.   

A personal loss, like the death of a loved one, can spur this. Changing schools or having parents go through a divorce are also hard on teens. 

Bullying and social media pressure may also be to blame for a teen who chooses to use drugs. Some teens may also be having a hard time figuring out their sexual identity. This can cause them to use drugs as an escape or a means to cope. 

The stress of getting into college may also cause the teen to turn to substance abuse. The teen may also show signs that their grades are slipping. They may also show a loss of interest in academic and extracurricular activities. 

A teen going through a difficult time does not always guarantee drug use. But it may involve a combination of different factors, including struggling with change. 

Teenagers on Drugs, Getting Them the Help They Need  

These 7 situations are the most common reasons that cause teenagers to begin using drugs. Remember that teenagers on drugs will often display some warning signs. It helps to pay attention to the symptoms and encourage support. 

There are also many options to take to begin the recovery process for yourself or a loved one. Counseling services and professional treatment programs have helped many teens struggling with addiction.  

Learn more about how 1st Step Behavioral Health can help with the road to recovery.